Asia specialist Experience Travel Group has created its first agents relationship manager role to strengthen its ties with the trade.

Abi Northage, who has been with the tour operator for a year in a customer focused role, has been appointed in the position. She will be tasked with developing relationships further with existing travel agent partners.

The move follows a 20% growth in sales from agents in the last year, with trade bookings now accounting for 17% of business.

The company says it is now targeting a ‘signficant’ increase in sales from agents as a result of creating the new role.

The operator offers holidays across Asia in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Malaysian Borneo, Burma (Myanmar), the Maldives, Indonesia and India.

Founder and managing director Sam Clarke said the new role will give agents a focal point for their queries. Agents will have access to dedicated marketing collateral and resources, online webinar and training support, and opportunities for face to face meetings to increase their confidence in booking holidays with the company.

Before joining ETG, Northage worked for British Airways for 20 years, as a cabin service director before moving on to the airline’s headquarters as innovations learning and design manager and trainer.

Clark said: “We are delighted to have someone with Abi’s experience and expertise to take on this vital role for the business. We are confident she will ensure that we offer our travel agent partners the maximum support and help possible so they can grow their high-quality bookings to Asia and beyond.”

Northage will be based at the company’s offices in Clapham, in south London.